Where creativity grows

Category: Music

A musical journey

One of the pillars of the creative mindset is music. The guests at Matt and Cassandra’s wedding represented nine different countries. In an effort to have everyone represented during the reception, they asked guests to share 3-4 songs from their homeland. We heard music from India, Sweden, Ukraine, Mexico and of course Spain. Hearing all of these new and unique-to- me tunes made me realize that my favorite Pandora stations were so perfectly dialed in that I not only knew every single song that came up, but I also loved them. While there is nothing wrong with the Arctic Monkeys or that many artists that match the algorithm of their music, I was in the market for something new. I put an all-call out to my Facebook page to see what people could toss my way. I also said that I would give extra points for international music. 

The feedback I got was awesome. First and foremost, I heard back from people I did not expect to hear from. That meant that we had a connection I did not know about— music. Second- while I got a lot of suggestions, I did not like a lot of it. It just was not the kinda music that would make my creative juices flow and make me want to get up and dance— or more importantly to go and create! 

A colleague recommended a few songs by a Chinese artist. Another said she loved cleaning to a Phish playlist on Spotify. Another suggested a station called Rockfluence. I was amused when a local Elginite suggested a German artist named Antifuchs. I wasn’t sure if he knew that I was a German teacher, but as it turns out he did. Glad he was able to confirm that this was not school nor institution friendly music. Didn’t matter, I enjoyed the sound of her music tremendously. Then my neighbor down the block surprised me with some epic suggestions of New Orleans style calypso music that was crazy fun. Too many Zooz Radio and Trombone Shorty were two of my favorites. I didn’t realize that what I was actually looking for was something that would make our house have a café feel to it. When a long time friend suggested the Pink Martini station on Pandora, I knew that I had struck gold. The station definitely has a Sunday Brunch Café station feel to it, but it has a solid international twist to it that has me smiling, dancing and daydreaming all at the same time. I turned it on this morning when I got up and it has been playing for eight straight hours without a single thumbs down on a song. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

Do you have a song or a playlist that gets your creative juices flowing? Please share! I am always on the hunt for new music.

The Invitation of a Lifetime

We knew as soon as we received the invitation to Matthew and Cassandra’s wedding we would do everything possible to attend. After all, how often do you receive an invitation to an intimate wedding in the rolling hills of Spain? Once we negotiated all the chaos of traveling internationally near the tail end of a global pandemic, we were ready to get our fiesta on.

Everything about this wedding fits the challenges I set forth in my post about a creative mindset

Listen to music. Nine different countries were represented at the wedding. The bride and groom asked everyone from outside the US to share a few songs for the DJ to play during the reception. It was so unique to hear songs from India, Sweden and Ukraine. I never would have heard these songs otherwise and I’ll always smile when I think back on the reception and dancing to them.

Keep an idea journal. The food at the reception was out of this world and it had me making notes to try and find recipes to try back at home. From the camembert bites in blueberry sauce to the vegetarian paella and quinoa salad, my creative juices were flowing! 

Talk to other creatives. This was a very small wedding- only 38 guests. When we talked to the bride and groom about the guest list they admitted that they were drawn to the same types of people— people with a sense of adventure and creativity. After all, most of the guests were traveling thousands of miles to attend the festivities. 

Embrace failure. The bride and groom were extremely thoughtful in how they arranged guests at each table. There was a mixture of people who spoke only Spanish, only English and both English & Spanish at each table. Pedro, a local farmer at our table, tried to engage the Spanish learners at our table with children’s riddles using farm animals. The three non-Spanish speakers at our table stared at him with zero comprehension of what he was trying to communicate. The bilingual guest translated, we laughed and postulated an answer. Time after time our language and creativity failed us. We laughed it off and kept trying. 

Be a lifelong learner. I knew as soon as we decided to make the trip that I was going to do everything to learn at least basic Spanish. I spent countless hours and gave up daily lunch periods to practice on Duolingo. There was no way that I would be fluent in time for the trip, but I did get a healthy dose of creative use of my limited language skills. 

Expose yourself to new environments. The entire wedding fit this challenge. When most people travel to Spain they go to the big cities— Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia, etc. The ceremony was held in the middle of the Spanish countryside in Arnes on a stunningly beautiful vineyard that no one has ever heard of. It was an all vegetarian/vegan menu that tantalized our taste buds with each bite. We knew the bride and groom and none of the other guests- which forced us to meet and interact with new people. 

Have new experiences. The wedding festivities continued well into the night. We danced and laughed and celebrated the beautiful couple like it was the last thing we would ever do. The joy carried into the next day when a couple from India shared the Holi festival of color with the wedding guests. We piled into cars and headed into the mountains with huge packets of colored powder. After a short hike down to the river, the color madness started. Everyone grabbed packets of powder and smeared them all over anyone within arms reach. Joy and laughter was radiating from every single person. Before we knew it everyone had jumped into the river and the colors were just a memory. 

I know that traveling to exotic destinations is not an everyday (or in our case even an every year) occurrence. We did embrace every chance we could to make the most of this special opportunity and to recharge our creative batteries as much as we could.

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